Twenty four hours in Romania’s capital may be enough to discover all that Bucharest is best known for. But it most defintely warrants more time.
Bucharest has impressive commanding buildings strongly influenced by Western architecture and the country’s communist background, making it an engaging blend of history and culture, these are some of the highlights to see on your visit.
In the Old Town, discover the history of Bucharest
Bucharest’s Old Town has many charming cobbled roads and walkways which offer the opportunity to discover the history of this historic city. The post-communist, Bucharest is growing so fast, along with its impressive commercial and industrial centres. A mixture of ancient buildings and modern ones, there are many hidden cafés, architectural treasures and spaces influenced by art.
Parliament Palace is the world’s second-largest building in the world
The Parliament Palace is often called the House of the People. The largest building in Europe, and the second-largest in the world after the Pentagon. The Palace of Parliament has approximately four million square feet and one thousand rooms and contains the Romanian Parliament, council, the chamber of deputies, three museums, and an international gathering centre. It is considered the heaviest building in the world too for the sheer weight of the building material. A tour inside the Parliament of Bucharest is possible and you should definitely add it to the list of ‘must-see places’ in Bucharest.
Stavropoleos Church is the most impressive in Romania’s Capital
Stavropoleos Church is an orthodox church that lies inside the Old Town. Built by a Greek monk in the 13th century. The architecture of the church is a mixture of Romanian and Byzantine. The quiet courtyard will take you away from the city’s hustle and bustle for a moment. The monastery itself is a calm and peaceful place, which invites a pause to pray or meditate. One of the most beautiful buildings in the city, Stavropoleos Church should not be missed.
Bucharest is often called ‘Little Paris’
In some parts of the city, you can see the French influence on the buildings. As the capital of Romania, Bucharest is automatically the cultural centre of the country. On the drive from the airport, you will see the Triumphal Arch called ‘Eastern Paris’ – yes Bucharest has its own Arc de Triomphe – that was built in 1935 to honour the unification of Romania. Bucharest is also known as the centre of nightlife in Romania. Bucharest nightlife is energetic and fun with most of the bars and clubs centred in the city and offering insight into everyday living.
The most picturesque bookshops in Bucharest
Restored in the 1900s, with white stairs that look like a carousel, the Carturesti Bookstore is definitely one of the most amazing bookshops you are likely to encounter. The design is purposely minimalistic and when contrasted with the colourful books could not be more picturesque. Found on Strada Lipscani 55 Street, the prices may be a little high, but it’s certainly worth it and the selection will have any book lover filling their basket.
Super quick Internet and Leaders in the IT Industry
This may surprise some, but Bucharest has one of the fastest internet connections in Europe which has allowed them to have a huge development in the IT department. A lot of international companies such as IBM have opened their offices in Bucharest. Romanians are traditionally excellent in computer programming and in Microsoft, Romanian is second only to English, as the most spoken language.
There are many beautiful parks in Romania, especially in Bucharest. You can find the Parcul Izvor or Cismigiu Park in the centre of Bucharest, located in front of the Parliaments Palace. Explore further though to find other parks around the city where you can go for a picnic or a walk.
Bucharest’s Dracula Castle
There may be plenty of castles in Romania, but the Bran Castle – or Dracula’s Castle, takes the spotlight and can be enjoyed on a day trip. An hour’s car drive from Bucharest and set amid beautiful mountains, the famous Dracula Castle brings Romania over 1 million tourists every year. A national monument and landmark, the fortress is on the Transylvanian side of the historical border.
Romania’s capital Bucharest knew a very difficult communist period, yet the city’s impressive architecture is reminiscent of the glory of Paris of the East. Bucharest remains a really affordable city with a small fee for buying a one-way bus ticket that will give you access to the whole city. Having dinner is also very inexpensive in Bucharest, on average under R100 per person in most of the fine restaurants.
When you walk in Revolution Square in central Bucharest on Calea Victoriei, it is very easy to forget that outside of the city there are natural surrounds and centuries-old buildings that beckon discovery.
** All pics sourced.
** This is a guest post by Lydia Colman.